Time to wake up to saving the environment

Gurgaon to go plastic-free by early next year

Time to wake up to saving the environment

Gurgaon will soon become a polythene-free city if Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon commissioner Vijay Singh Dahiya has his way.

The MCG is running a vigorous campaign against the use of polythene bags. Recently, Dahiya had a meeting with a senior executive of Ambience Mall management, who assured him that all 300 shops in the mall will bid adieu to plastic bags before the New Year starts.

Dahiya has now called a meeting with owners of all other major malls in Gurgaon on Tuesday, and with the management of all market associations the following day.

Along with shopkeepers, MCG is also roping in consumers to spread the message of saving the environment. “The corporation is geared up to rope in resident welfare associations, some of which have already committed to lend support to make this a plastic-free city,” said Dahiya.

 Several members of the Joint Action Forum of Resident Welfare Associations, which represents 10,000 households, also met Dahiya two days ago and promised to discourage the use of plastic bags in their day-to-day lives.

To give fillip to the campaign, the MCG now wants to join hands with one of the most effective partners — schools. “We want to create an environment wherein people learn to live without plastic bags. We want to bring a change in the attitude of people,” said Dahiya.

“For this, we will invite all government and private schools in Gurgaon to join us in our endeavour to educate kids about the virtues of saving the environment,” he added.

On why the campaign is starting from Ambience Mall and not from somewhere else, Dahiya said this is the biggest mall in the city — a kilometre of shopping area on each floor — and is expected to play the role of a torch-bearer for other shopping centres in Gurgaon.

Some challenges

But there seems to be a glitch in implementation. MCG officials claim that Ambience Mall representative has been apprised about the need to make it a plastic-free area, who in turn is expected to give the message to shopowners. But when Deccan Herald went to the mall, the manager of a popular store repudiated the claim. “We have not got any message from our management,” said the manager.

On Sunday, the MCG sent a team headed by health officer Dr Aruna Sangwan to 11 hospitals, including Medanta Medicity, Pushpanjali and Kalyani Hospitals, to issue directions to the hospital authorities to stop using plastic bags at the earliest.

Dahiya said there are challenges in implementation and the MCG will face them. “The last mile is difficult to travel. It’s not easy to refrain retailers and small shopkeepers from using plastic bags. The only way out is to offer them alternate bags, such as paper and jute bags,” he said.

“We can’t distribute them to each and every household, but we will run seminars and workshops to sensitise people at popular hangout zones. We will also penalise plastic bag manufacturers in the city,” he added.

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